Craft Beer Brined Chicken

Craft Beer Brined Chicken

Beer can chicken is a barbecue staple, usually involving a can of Bud Light (or other reasonably priced brew) within the chicken.

But beer, and better beer at that, can be used to brine chicken for a less messy option. Brining involves a combination of salt, sugar and water, which adds flavor and keeps the meat tender and juicy.

To replace the usual salt brine, we went with a gose style craft beer, an old German style beer that is known for its refreshing crispness and tang. Goses almost always incorporate the use of coriander seeds and salt.

Not all Goses have the same salt content so it’s worthwhile to do a little research to bring home a beer with a salt content that won’t require anything additional. We used two different ones to see how their flavors worked with the chicken.

First up is Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange Gose, a tart wheat ale brewed with sea salt and coriander, with the addition of blood oranges during fermentation. Brining chicken in this beer gives a very unexpectedly light citrusiness to the chicken that might even be described as undetectable unless contrasted with unbrined grilled chicken.

The second one is Evil Twin’s Mission Gose, with eucalyptus added. Drinking it gives a layered taste experience, which is infused right into the chicken. The citrusy-tart and salty notes take center stage, with the coolness of the eucalyptus serving as a complement without a menthol flavor.

To replicate these results for your tailgate, put bone-in chicken thighs in a sealable container and cover completely with beer. We found that each thigh takes one can of beer for full coverage.

Seal the containers and store in the fridge for 12-24 hours and remove right before grilling. Leave on indirect heat until the juices run clear, checking on it frequently.

Both Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange Gose ($11.99 for a six-pack) and Evil Twin Mission Gose ($11.99 for a four-pack) can be found at Green’s Beverage Warehouse.

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